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Album Review: Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

Watain’s sixth full-length album is a strong statement of intent for the Swedish black metal veterans. In contrast to the hour plus runtimes on Lawless Darkness and The Wild Hunt, Trident Wolf Eclipse clocks in just at a little over thirty-four minutes. In addition to being the band’s shortest album to date, it also promises to eliminate the experimental tendencies and melodic shifts that came most notably with its immediate predecessor.

As soon as “Nuclear Alchemy” comes blasting in, it is immediately obvious that Watain is a band of their word. Trident Wolf Eclipse lacks much of their other recent albums’ polish and instead revels in second wave aesthetics. The production is rawer and the guitar has the signature buzzing tone and tremolo leads pioneered by Darkthrone and co. The tempos may also be faster than before, the drums hit harder, and the melodic flourishes are few and far between.

Thankfully the album’s streamlined approach still allows for some varied songwriting. The slow waltzing tempo in conjunction with periodic blasts makes “Teufelsreich” a noteworthy highlight, and “A Throne Below” retains an epic air despite only being four minutes long. “Ultra (Pandemoniac)” also stands out thanks to its almost black ‘n roll pacing.

Trident Wolf Eclipse feels rather Black Metal 101 in comparison to Watain’s more ambitious outings, but the band proves to be pretty damn good at executing the old school style. Fans lured in by past albums’ melodic tendencies may have a harder time with this one, but I find that its straightforward songwriting and short length give it a different kind of accessibility. There’s not much on here that wasn’t already done by Dissection or early Gorgoroth, but fans of the genre should find a lot to enjoy.

Highlights:
“Teufelsreich”
“A Throne Below”
“Ultra (Pandemoniac)”
“The Fire of Power”

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